Thanks for your replies.
Allow me to elaborate -
I was raised in a Church of England home and went to CofE schools from the age of 5-13 or so. My mother dragged me to church most Sundays until I was old enough to rebel
When I began going to the Catholic church last year I hadn’t been to worship in around 20 years. Seeing as I’d found my way back to Christianity again I wanted to start all over, ignoring my childhood experiences. That’s why I thought the Alpha Course may be a good idea - going in as a total beginner and re-learning everything.
The first session was fun enough, but after digging a bit deeper on the Internet, I’m worried about Alpha’s connections to Charismatic Protestant teachings. I want to join the Catholic Church after all!
My wife’s ‘Creepy Christians’ comment was in reference to people speaking in tongues, falling over, having convulsions and wailing… all that kind of stuff. She’s all for regular (ie. non-hysterical) worship but weary of the ‘evangelical guys who do stadium tours’ and the like
The ‘brainwashing’ comment was in reference to the Alpha Course techniques. Why does everybody have a meal first and then passively watch a DVD? Why does everybody have to go away for the weekend to a closed, controlled environment where they’re coerced into ‘receiving the Holy Spirit’? Doesn’t that sound like the techniques used by cults?
I think she may have a point…
I’m also very curious as to how they do the transition from what sounds like a born-again feelgood gathering to the teachings of the Catholic Church. I grew up with traditional CofE churches - religion and communion was something reverent, studious, genteel in a way. So you can understand why I’m reticent about throwing myself into something that seems so modern and outside my experience. The thing I love about Catholicism is the feeling you’re connecting to something much older, wiser and bigger than yourself with a rich history and traditions. I’m currently inclined to think that Alpha is missing these altogether.
Anyways, the second session is tonight. Part of me thinks I should go check it out and take up all my concerns with the priest running the course, the other part thinks I should forget it all and try another church.
I’d also like to share some of the sites I’ve found with you:
Alpha experiences, testimonials, thoughts, criticisms -
Alpha Course talks in full from Holy Trinity Brompton, London (the Anglican church where the course began):
See what you think!
Here endeth the ramble.